ARREST AND TRIAL 179 One of the vice-premiers at the time, Wang Kuei, under pressure of the censors, suddenly said to the Emperor one day; ^ "Su Shih is at heart a rebel against Your Majesty." "He may have committed some offence," replied the Emperor with an expression of surprise, "but he is not thinking of rebellion. What raakes you say so?" Wang Kuei then mentioned the poem on the two cypresses with a reference to the dragon hidden in the underground springs, which could mean that someone destined to become emperor in the future would arise from his present obscurity. But the Emperor only said: "You cannot read poetry that way. He was singing about the cypress. What has that to do with me?" Wang Kuei -therefore kept quiet, and Chang Chun, who was still |u Tungpo's friend at this time, defended Su by explaining to the %nperor that the dragon was not only the symbol of the ruler but could refer to ministers as well, and quoted examples from literary history in support of his argument. When the examination of further evidence handed in by Su Tungfo's friends was completed, the Emperor appointed his own man to review the case. According to the judge's summary a slander of this kind against the government was punishable by exile and hard labour for two years, and furthermore, in the case of Su Tungpo, whose offence j^as considered serious, the punishment should also deprive him of two of his official ranks. That was the legal view of the case. The power of decision, however, lay entirely with the Emperor himself in a case of such serious nature. On December 29, to the great disappointment of Leeding and Sudan* a palace official handed out an order sending Su Tungpo to Huang- chow, near Hankow. He was given a low rank, with the nominal office of a lieutenant in an army training corps, but the terms of the order were that he was to be "kept" or "confined" there within that district; that is, he was not free to leave that district, and had no right to sign official documents. Among those implicated in die case, three were dealt with severely. Prince Wang Shien was deprived of all his ranks on the ground that Jje had betrayed official secrets to Su Tungpo and had constandy ex- changed gifts with him, and that, moreover, as a member of the royal household he had failed to report such slanderous poems as were in his "possession. The second was Wang Kung, who had not received any particularly slanderous poems, but who was evidently being victimised in this case, perhaps because for private reasons the censors wanted to dispose of him. In the years after, Su kept referring to Wang Kung as one who suffered on his account. We know Wang Kung's luxurious habits, and his banishment to the remote south-west was hard for him.